Although webinar technology continues to improve there are still plenty of examples of badly managed web seminars. Today we attended a marketing webinar that had a trifecta of critical problems. In addition to leaving a poor impression on the live participants, the archive is now flawed too and not suitable for promotion. Web seminar problems happen all the time, but here are a few tips for those of you responsible for organizing and managing your webinars.
Critical Webinar Mistake Number 1: Poor Registration Flow and Customer Experience
Increasingly companies are integrating registration with marketing automation solutions and membership sites. This is typically a good thing but many web sites are not provisioned for a large number of simultaneous hits that can happen during registration, joining an event, or responding to exit surveys after your webinar.
In this example registration was captured on a WordPress site. Unfortunately it appears that the web site, although I’m sure quite adequate in most cases, was not prepared to render the large number of simultaneous page views that occurred from the email blast. (It is fairly common in shared hosting plans to limit the number of simultaneous database queries). We have seen the same problem even from large companies that should know better like Apple Computer.
You also need to step back and look at your entire registration process to ensure it gives the customer experience you desire. Think critically about how you can reduce friction, add value, and surprise your new registrants.
Critical Webinar Mistake Number 2: Bad Audio
The next problem encountered was the main presenter’s audio. The quality was poor enough that they stopped to allow the speaker to dial into the conference call rather than use VoIP. This resolved the problem but the presenter lost their flow and was off their game. Plus, the audio really was not usable up to the point that they had him dial-in again.
Another common audio mistake is using speakerphones. Many executives are accustomed to using conference phones for internal communications and use them constantly. Conference speakerphone technology has come a long way, but they still pick-up all the ambient room noise (air conditioning, papers shuffling, outside noises, etc.). Good speakerphones will even pick-up whispered side conversations. The worst part is that they tend to make you sound like your speaking at the audience rather than to each of them as individuals. I recommend avoiding them. A handheld phone or headset will be more pleasant and personable.
Critical Webinar Mistake Number 3: Slow Internet Connection
All presenters should use a hardwired (Ethernet) connection to the Internet. This is the best way to ensure a stable connection. Unfortunately this is not always possible, so you need to have contingency plans in place.
- If the speaker is using VoIP, have a landline telephone ready, available and tested.
- If they are presenting, have a copy of their slides hosted on another presenter’s or organizers computer and ready to share. This should be an entirely different location than the presenters. Same thing goes for any videos that you may be sharing.
- If you are using webcam video, be prepared to turn it off and revert to lower bandwidth audio.
- If you are planning a live desktop demonstration, consider what you will do if your connection is very slow. Solutions include having another presenter or co-worker “drive” while you narrate or creating screenshots that you can embed in your presentation. Those screenshots make for a nice presentation download too.
- Coach your presenters on how to handle the Q&A if they cannot see the questions.
Plan on how you will address these three critical webinar mistakes and you will deliver a better webinar and be prepared when you do encounter problems. Alternatively, you can hire us to manage your events and we will help you manage these issues. Thanks for reading!